EMPAC STEM Challenge: how to beat crime

EMPAC is all about bringing together the best thinking and insights in order to improve policing and better protect the public. We are interested in driving accelerated innovation and enterprise in order to tackle crime.

We are particularly interested in cross border, shared policing problems, for example to better understand how vulnerabilities in communities could be reduced and made more vibrant, self-resilient and crime-free. 

STEM challenge

EMPAC is working with the University of Leicester on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) challenge with cohorts of undergraduate applied mathematics students. EMPAC works with Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Jeremy Levesley, to challenge students to identify how crime can be prevented. 

Recent focus has been upon why some crime ‘cold spots’ appear to be less afflicted, in order to identify possible transferable traits that could be replicated in crime hot spot areas. Mathematics students are able to apply their skills to map multiple open source data sets to identify patterns within crime cold spot area in order to highlight transferrable ways of beating crime. 

Solution focused enquiry

Shamia Sanjania, Saira Qurashi, Laura Abrahall, Ioanna Kourti and Ebrahim Lambat from the School of Computational and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Leicester are working on better understanding areas where there is little crime. Instead of looking for reasons for crime they are looking for reasons for its absence. We can liken this to doctors promoting healthy eating rather than performing heart surgery. They are using data mining and visualisation methods which aim to shed light on this important, yet under-researched, topic.

The mathematicians are using multiple avenues of open source data, using Python, R, VBA or matlab to model data to carry out principal component analysis to identify variables. It is anticipated that time series analysis, principal component analysis, and clustering technique could be beneficial in making sense of multiple forms of data. 

Watch the team in action here:-    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h3X2eGUohFBTn1d8aKNIWNVT83ACNtBy?usp=sharing

Open source data is available at numerous sites including:-

Be a part of research and innovation in policing

We’re not short of data in this day and age, but it can be a challenge to make sense of the amount and variety of data out here – the opportunity here is to make sense of data and identify some trends that have been perhaps hiding in open view. Lists of data are one thing to describe a pattern but we’re keen to explain and understand why things happen, so we can help make a difference.

EMPAC encourages any researchers out there to help find ways of beating crime. If you are interested in getting involved contact Professors Jeremy Levesley and John Coxhead at jemlevesley11@gmail.com  /  john.coxhead@empac.org.uk.

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